Operation Breakthrough Students: On Making Films and Winning an Award!

“Creating videos is such a good way to learn your environment. You begin to see stuff that you just pass by without thinking about it. Filming changes your perspective in a nice way.” – Caillou

Every year, Operation Breakthrough creates a video that debuts at our Annual Fundraiser. Last year, the donation of some used iPhones set off Videographer & Producer Lynne Melcher and Director Jennifer Heinemann on an adventure. They put the phones in the hands of children, and the result was magical.

By the end of the year, student filmmakers DJ, Caillou, and Arrion were accepting the Gold Award in the Long Video category at Nonprofit Connect’s Philly Awards alongside Lynne and Jennifer.

We spoke with the young artists about their experience, both in creating the film and attending their first Philly Awards Ceremony.


My favorite part about creating the film was just going through all of Operation Breakthrough again. We haven’t been there, like all around it, for quite a while. It made us look at OB a different way. The fact that we got to see what other people are doing other than just what is happening in School Age. That was very interesting.

I would make a video again. On any place, not just a school. Creating videos is such a good way to learn your environment. You begin to see stuff that you just pass by without thinking about it. Filming changes your perspective in a nice way.

The Philly Awards was a unique experience especially the fact that we were able to win. All of our hopes were set pretty low because you can’t win everything. The fact that we actually won was encouraging.

Caillou’s Motivational Tip: Try different things because I was hesitant about filming the video at first but I found out it was pretty fun. So, basically, you never know until you try.


My favorite part about filming the video for Operation Breakthrough was the environment. It was cool to see how happy the kids were and how excited they were to be a part of OB.

The Philly Awards felt pretty interesting to know that everyone else were adults and we were the youngest people there, by a lot. My favorite moment was accepting the award. Everyone was cheering for us and we did a good job making the video. The food was good too, especially the BLT’s and meatballs. Oh, and the cornbread and lemon cake. It was all actually pretty good come to think of it.

DJ’s Motivational Tip: My advice is to keep working towards things until you find out what can work. What you find will probably surprise you.


The main thing I learned in filming is that when you’re going to tell a story it’s important that you know the theme you want to share. It will help make your story more interesting.

We were the youngest people at the Philly Awards, so it was extra special to win the Gold. The meatballs and the brownies were my favorite.

Arrion’s Motivational Tip: Take your time on taking your pictures and get the camera proper. Lighting is important.

To see the video,  go to: https://operationbreakthrough.... scroll down and watch the first video titled, "Operation Breakthrough 2017: The Wonders of OB!". To respect the privacy of Arrion’s story, her video has not been published publicly.

Our new 2018 video will debut at our 20th Annual Fundraiser, Big Dreams – Bright Futures, on April 27, 2018! For more information about the fundraiser, click here. 2018 Annual Event